Local businesses are up against it. With Amazon dominating ecommerce and Walmart dominating brick-and-mortar, many local businesses are struggling to compete.
Let's face it: These aisles aren’t going anywhere.
Effective local lead generation strategies can help you do so. While other digital marketing strategies put you in touch with the world, these strategies are more targeted: They put your business in touch with your exact market.
Here are the five easiest, most affordable, and most high-impact lead generation strategies for local businesses:
- Use targeted Facebook lead ads
- Create a localized lead magnet
- Run a local contest or giveaway
- Create a localized landing page
- Go offline
1. Use targeted Facebook lead ads
With 2.41 billion users and unparalleled targeting capabilities, Facebook is the best way for local business owners to find their people.
For instance, let's say you've just opened a new dance studio in Seattle. And let's say it's around Valentine's Day. Facebook advertising will enable you to target men in a relationship within the Seattle area specifically. Your message could be something to the effect of, "Valentine's Day is coming up. Get her the best gift ever!" Simple.
But what if your dance studio only has classes in April?
You need to start getting prospective students now to fill those classes.
And that's where Facebook lead ads come in.
There are a couple of options when talking about lead generation on Facebook:
- Run an ad with the "Conversion" objective and send everyone who clicks to a landing page on your website where they submit their contact information through a form.
- Run a Facebook lead ad.
What's a Facebook lead ad, again?
It looks like this:
And it works like this:
Step 1: A prospective lead scrolls through their Facebook News Feed. They see your ad (for a Valentine's Day gift of dance lessons), and click the call to action.
Step 2: A form opens within the ad, right in the News Feed. The prospective lead fills out their contact information (whatever fields you select).
Step 3: The lead submits their information. That information is automatically sent to your previously-integrated CRM.
Here's what a Facebook lead ad might look like in the Facebook Ad Manager for our "Seattle Salsa" example:
The best part is that Facebook lead ads work: WordStream found that Facebook lead ads convert the people who click on them 19.77% more effectively than Facebook ads that send people to a landing page:
Top Tip: Facebook lead ads are far more effective if you don't have to do the manual export. Instead, connect your Facebook ad account with your CRM to send your new leads there directly and automatically.
2. Create a localized lead magnet
Creating a lead magnet—an incentive that gets prospective leads to trade their contact information—is one of the leading ways to generate leads. The challenge, of course, is that your local business doesn't need leads in Singapore if you're based out of Hell's Kitchen (and only sell to your area).
So creating a generic lead magnet appealing to everyone isn't a very good use of your time.
Instead, create a lead magnet which is exclusively appealing to your target market in your local area.
Here are a few localized lead magnet ideas:
- The Complete Guide to Estate Planning in [Your State]
- The Complete Guide to Buying/Selling/Flipping a Home/Condo/Apartment in [Local Area]
- The Complete Guide to Buying a Used Car in [Your State]
- Preparing your Car for Winter in [Your State]
- A Guide to the Perfect Road Trip/Holiday/Bachelor Party/Romantic Getaway in [State/City]
The format of these lead magnets is entirely up to you; they could be webinars, email-gated videos, or simply .pdf ebooks.
Here's a localized lead magnet example:
Top Tip: Email-gating video is a powerful way to generate leads. To do so, you'll have to talk to your developer to create something that pauses (or refuses to play) the video until lead information has been submitted.
3. Run a local contest or giveaway
Perhaps the most reliable way to generate exclusively local leads is to run a contest that gives away a prize in your area. Contests are similar to lead magnets, in that they provide a reason for a prospective customer to provide contact information. In this case, though, you give them a chance to win a prize they want to win.
When running a local contest or giveaway, though, there is a single best practice though, that makes all the difference: Give away a prize related to your product or service.
Let's say you're marketing a gym. If you create a contest giving away a trip to Barbados or $1,000, cash, you'll get thousands of leads. Everybody wants a trip to Barbados or $1,000.
And that's the problem.
Remember, a single lead who becomes a customer is worth more than 100 leads who don't. Like social media followers or blog subscribers, the number of leads is (ultimately) a vanity metric. By giving away a prize directly related to your business, you may get fewer leads, but those leads will be worth something to your business.
For example, here's what a local giveaway page might look like:
This local contest page is simple but effective. Here are a few things to note (and include in your next local contest!):
- The countdown timer. Countdown timers add urgency to any promotion. They've been shown to increase conversion by as much as 332%. They work perfectly in contests because they're real. Your contest really will end at the end of the week, and if people don't enter, they can't win.
- The headline. Front, center, and large, the headline tells exactly what you could win. Put the value at the top.
- The value of the prize. A dollar value helps your contest entrants understand what they stand to win if the value of your prize isn't inherently understood. This is usually the case when giving away a product or service.
- The form fields. This contest asks for nothing more than a name and email address. It's (generally) best practice to ask for no more information than you need to contact your leads. More form fields tend to equal a lower conversion rate on your lead generation page.
- The call-to-action button. Make sure it’s high-contrast and eye-catching so there's no confusion about where to click to enter this contest.
- The lack of external links. This contest page is an effective landing page. As such, it's optimized for a single conversion goal. That means there are no links off this page to distract visitors from that goal.
Not sure what to give away? Here are a few local lead gen contest prize ideas:
- A date night package (especially valuable if you team up with another local business)
- A “winterize your car” package
- A home staging package
- A family photoshoot
- A holiday-themed makeover
- Fitness classes and fitness gear
- Product giveaway (themed)
- Pre-wedding spa treatment
Top Tip: You may notice the social share boost the reach of your local contest or giveaway by adding share buttons incentivize your entrants to share your promotion with their network to earn additional chances to win.
4. Create a localized landing page
If you target multiple local markets or have local branches, create landing pages specific to those local areas to generate local leads.
For instance, let’s say you run a large law firm in Michigan. You may have your flagship office in Detroit, but another office in Lansing and another in Grand Rapids.
Your prospective clients—prospective leads—will be far more likely to engage with their local branch.
There are two things here:
- Focus on local SEO. You want to show up when someone types “Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer” into Google as well as “Lansing” and “Detroit.”
- Build a lead generation campaign that targets those areas (you can use Facebook ads for this) and then sends them to a landing page specific to their area and the partners or attorneys you have in it.
For instance, here's a localized page for Cactus Club (an upscale chain restaurant in Canada). This is the page for their branch in the Yaletown neighborhood:
If Cactus Club were to run local Google ads, they'd convert searchers far better if they directed people to their closest branch than to the generic homepage.
Google's geo-targeted ads enable marketers to target searchers with pinpoint accuracy. Here's a snapshot of how specific you can get with it:
For more on local Google Ads, check out "The Ultimate Guide to Google’s Local Service Ads."
5. Go offline
It can be hard for digital marketers to remember to look out their window. We have a superiority complex when it comes to marketing strategies, and "shaking hands with people" is often overlooked in favor of another A/B test.
However, conferences and trade shows can be a fantastic way for your local business to generate quality leads and build relationships.
But it takes some work.
Here are a few offline lead generation tips to get your started:
- Choose your tradeshow or conference well. They're expensive, and you want to get a positive return from attending, as well as the time you spend glad-handing. Our recommendation is to choose one or two as a test, then go from there if the work investment turns a profit. For a comprehensive list of trade shows (broken down by industry), check out AbsoluteExhibits.
- Determine what KPI will indicate success. Are you focused exclusively on generating leads? Or are you looking for wholesale providers, employees, product feedback, etc.?
- Bigger isn't necessarily better. Like with the local contest above, it's better to go with a highly-targeted (read: smaller) tradeshow or conference than it is to dive into the biggest ones out there—especially for local businesses. Find where your target clients or customers are, and go there.
- Give merch. Remember, this post is about local lead generation. Unless you're getting cards or having prospective customers/sellers provide their lead information, you may be wasting your time and money. Give incentives, like merchandise or discounts, in exchange for contact information.
- Follow up. Leads you generate online are more easily contacted than leads generated by hand. Before you head out the door to attend the tradeshow, create an automated email series that will encourage new leads to complete your business' objective. Start with something like, "It was great meeting you at [tradeshow]. Hope you had a great time!"
For more on local event and conference marketing, check out 11 Creative, Brand-Building Event Marketing Ideas.
Go and get those local leads!
So there you have it: the five best high-impact local lead generation strategies you can start using today.
- Use targeted Facebook lead ads to reach your local area
- Create a localized lead magnet relevant exclusively to your target market
- Run a local contest or giveaway which gets people excited
- Create a localized landing page for your brand’s branches
- Go offline to generate local leads face-to-face
Sometimes it can feel like digital marketing strategies apply only to the international, cloud-based tech firms in Silicon Valley.
But they don’t.
Your local business can find just as much success with these strategies as a SaaS running from a skyscraper in Manhattan.
So get started!